French alternative operator Free (Iliad Group) says it has expanded its network reach across the country with the deployment of Cisco carrier routing technology in Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux. The triple-play broadband operator is installing Cisco-supplied Internet Protocol Next Generation Network (IP NGN) infrastructure both to increase bandwidth for existing users and to provide future capacity for anticipated subscriber growth. In the wake of a EUR1 billion (USD1.4 billion) investment plan designed to bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to four million French households by the end of 2012, Free is expanding its national footprint with additional Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System deployments. The operator is converging its dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) optical network onto a completely IP-based infrastructure by installing Cisco 10 Gigabit Ethernet IP over DWDM (IPoDWDM) line cards in all Cisco CRS-1 systems throughout its network. The Iliad Group is a leading player in the French internet access and telecoms market via its Free and Alice subsidiaries, which between them counted 4.337 million ADSL subscribers as of 31 March 2009. Meanwhile, its Onetel and Iliad Telecom units provide fixed telephony and IFW is tasked with developing WiMAX services.